Koboi’s Guest: Jun Edoki

For Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition, at Courtyard Hiroo on 11th May 2018 at 7pm,  I am proud to announce that visionary film critic and promoter Fumio Furuya (a.k.a Jun Edoki), President of Eden Entertainment Inc., has accepted my invitation to attend the performance as an honoured guest. In 1998, Jun Edoki had the audacity to bring the film ‘Muthu Oduru Maharaja‘ (Muthu Dancing Maharaja) to the Tokyo audience. According Naman Ramachandran in  his biography of Rajinikanth, Edoki  found the movie in Singapore and took a copy back with him to Japan. He watched it with his wife and,  Ramachandran quotes Edoki saying, ” It was absolutely fascinating – even without subtitles … We became addicted to the point that we had to see at least part of the movie at least once a day”.

With absolute faith, Edoki took the movie around to distributors in Japan until Xanadeux released the film in 1998. I myself was amazed, upon a visit to Tokyo in 1998, to find the image of Thalaiva beaming over the streets of the city. That encounter on the streets of Tokyo in 1998 set into motion the ideas and approaches that inform the Koboi Project. Under the prevailing international marketing practice, global products are deliberately  differentiated to address specific markets (what Roland Robertson called dochakuka after the Japanese term dochaku)… Muthu in Japan was a media product that ‘crossed over’ without any such a priori considerations … it made a heart-to-heart connection to become a massive box-office success sans  dochakuka.

Image: https://twitter.com/EdokiJun




Muthu: Odoru Maharaja

RajinitohatoImage: http://sambharmafia.blogspot.ca/2005/08/rajini-and-meena-adorn-indian-snack.html

While our Thalaiva launches his new political image in preparation for the next Tamil Nadu state elections, it is interesting to remember his earlier appearance on a spicy garam masala snack package marketed in Japan by the Tohato company. The film Muthu (1995), or Muthu: Odoru Maharaja (Muthu: Dancing Maharajah) as it was titled for its 1998 Japanese release, starred Rajinikanth and Meena, and was a surprise box-office success. The SUPERSTAR’s following in Japan has grown to become a large and uniquely Japanese fan base. While Rajinikanth’s oeuvre is deeply rooted in an uncompromisingly rustic Tamil idiom, Muthu, somehow, became a trans-cultural phenomena, crossing from a Tamil  vernacular into the Japanese one.